Buhari, Maina And The Rest Of Us
No doubt, Maj. Gen. Buhari ever since he was sworn in as the President of the country has continuously shown to the Nigerian people that his fight against corruption is selective which has eroded the real fight against corruption and lead the country to a state of hopelessness and despair. The level of hypocrisy shown by this administration in it selective fight against corruption is disheartening and embarrassing. The sudden death of the grass-cutting scam by the suspended Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal against the humongous reports that follows shows that Maj. Gen. Buhari cannot yet make a distinction between the rules of accountability in public office and patronage to those who supported or financed his political campaign. He has shown little or no commitment to convince the Nigerian people that his administration stand for probity, accountability, transparency and anti-corruption that is being cosmetically sold.
The internal corruption and in-house contradiction spearheaded by this administration while deceiving Nigerians into believing that there is a fight against corruption while holding members of the opposition party especially from the South to account as regards the corruption that bedevile the country today is a pointer to the fact that there is no fight against corruption.
It is most embarrassing and worrisome that with the conspiracy within the Presidency by some highly placed persons to recall a criminal suspect who happens to be a fugitive to the public service despite being wanted by security agencies in the country after escaping a judicial trial, all the President could do is to order for the immediate disengagement of such a person from the civil service without punishing those that were directly involved in the infamy. There is no gainsaying in the fact that his disengagement by the Nigerian President was necessitated as a result of public show of disastifaction by the Nigerian people. This is because the Special Assistant to the President on Prosecution has earlier defended the recall of Maina on Channels TV before the President ordered for his disengagement without taking bold steps to punish him for the crime he has committed against humanity. This singular act shows systemic dysfunction to protect members of the inner circle.
It must be noted that the disengagement of Abdulrasheed Maina, a wanted suspected Criminal by the Nigerian President and the constitution of a committee to probe how he found his way back into the civil service with double promotion whose report would be submitted to a personality like the Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari is not just hilarious but unfortunate and an insult on our collective intelligence. With the latest move of the President, he has shown that he is not ready to reclaim whatever remains of the credibility of this administration. In fact, one does not need a soothsayer to be informed that this would signify the end of the Maina scandal. What happens to the reports of the committee constituted after the scandal of Babachir Lawal and co.? One would expect that the investigation be extended to the roles of all the officials involved in bringing Maina back to office with promotion but it's so unfortunate that nothing of such would happen. His entrance into the country through the airport without being arrested by security operatives despite the fact that one would be cleared by the Immigration and the DSS, his redeployment into the Civil Service and his promotion could not have been carried out without official written communication. But the only worrisome thing is that these could not have been done without the knowledge of the President himself and the powerful cabals in the Presidency.
But it is so shameful that what we have now is the combination of weak and compromised institutional framework of government which has allowed highly corrupt in-house members of this administration to walk the streets freely with arrogance and pride thereby abusing public trust and undermining of this administration. Nevertheless, the Maina scandal is a defining moment for this administration because he has always paid lip service to the fight against corruption thereby making it one-sided.
Kazeem Olalekan Israel (GANI)
Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife